Chess Lessons

I was more serious as a kid. More than anything, I loved the idea of strategy and thinking things through. While English was torture, my refuge was math. So when it came to games, chess quickly grabbed and held my attention.

“Chess Grand Master Vs. New Hopeful Challenger”

From a very young age, I relentlessly wanted to play. I lost hundreds of games to my patient father who got a kick, I’m sure, from my persistence to win. And win I did, more and more, to the point that my dad hasn’t played me in years. 

One of the last times I played was against a ranked chess Grandmaster. He humbly smiled as we sat down to play. I threw a few jokes out about needing a crash course on how the pieces move. He laughed and said, “You aren’t fooling me with that talk.” He had been undefeated for a while. In fact, he was quick to brag under his breath about his victories around the world against other ranked Grandmasters. 

I was the hired photographer for that weekend’s wedding, and I was shooting the rehearsal and family gathering the night before the wedding when I met this fine fellow. Shortly after meeting, I experienced one of the most glorious moments of my life by saying the words “checkmate” with tamed excitement. 

He scratched his head in disbelief as the whole family looked at the marvel they just witnessed. Their world renowned, undefeated, patriarch had just met his match. Eagerly rushing the game pieces back onto the board, he humbly requested a rematch. Instead, I simply stood up, extended my hand, and said “Thank you, sir. However, I must get back to work.”

With his attention remaining intent on a rematch, my dear friend had a line of family members eager to play him instead. I had inspired the idea that what was once impossible was now possible. Never let someone tell you that you can’t do something.

“Chess challenges continued long into the night”

Who am I – Joel German

Hi there, and welcome. Once in a while, I think it’s important to introduce who we are as people. Getting a glimpse into the interworking of humanity ties us together. So who am I?

I’m Joel German.

I am an investor of my time and talents into the betterment of those I meet. I am goal oriented and have clear direction in multiple aspects of life, and I choose to be intentional with my time. It’s important to me to leave people better than I found them. I lead conversations, relationships, and interactions in the direction of progress while investing my time in learning and growing others. Daily, I deliberately expand my network of people. 

More than anything, it’s imperative to invest time and energy into advancing my photography skill set until others see me as the best in the world because I see myself as the best photographer in the world. I spend time daily honing my skills as I have clear goals I want to achieve. 

This is my career and my life’s work. I use my photography to influence and motivate. 

My personality allows me to draw near to people and learn their stories. I’ve learned to break down barriers where others cannot, and I create a trust in the interactions and relationships I develop. 

Every day, I’m learning to be a better version of myself. I hope you’ll follow me on this journey.

Hi. Hello. How are you?

I sat down next to her in the sand and said “Hi.”

A soft foreign tongue replied “Hello.”

Smiling I said, “How are you?”

She offered a warm smile back and said, “I’m good. . .”

Camera in hand I asked, “May I photograph you?”

“Yes, but I don’t take good photos” was her bashful reply.

“Just keep doing what you are doing, and I’ll take care of the rest. . .”


It all started with the intent to rise from bed at the early morning hour of 5:30 AM to catch the sun as it peaked over the horizon. My camera was eager for an adventure and the sun-lit ocean surface would make an attractive background for the photos I was to present to my client. In theory this was going to be an amazing photoshoot. However, at that hour my body had other priorities; like sleep. Needless to say my agenda was altered when I missed my alarm clock’s wakeup call. This now meant that I had to catch the sunset if I was going to capture some stellar photos by the water’s edge for my client.

As I concluded my other duties for the day I watched for the perfect time to venture to the beach. I suppose it was around 6:30 in the evening that this prime time presented itself. With my gear in tow I made my way toward the coast and found an elegant area of sand to support my shoot. The sun was peaking in and out from behind the dark blue clouds in the sky. The wind was maturing to a point of being noticed. The ocean was having its typical conversation with the shoreline but today their connection was especially soothing and smooth. It was my camera’s favorite weather conditions and the products I was shooting looked great against this backdrop. Naturally as I concluded the product pictures my lens got curious about its surroundings. As I glanced up from where I was stationed my eyes were met with a delicate view. At some point while I was preoccupied with my original shoot the section of beach directly in front of me had been cleared of its inhabitants. In the void sat a lone soul. My lens was quick to act as I arose to my feet. I gently stepped forward as if approaching a rare bird in its natural habitat, but not wanting to spook it. In view, all alone with only her thoughts, a peaceful young woman sat in the sand penning her mind to paper.

The wind was ever so gently brushing her hair from her neck and face. Her sun-kissed skin made an attractive contrast against the bleached sand. She sat with her toes eagerly reaching toward the water’s edge. Disappointed in the water’s distance she let her toes play freely in the sand. Piled on her righthand side was a small collection of belongings. The only thing she seemed concerned with in the moment was embracing the free feeling provided by her surroundings and capturing her thoughts with pen and paper.

Approaching from behind I took a knee in the sand. Like a sniper preparing for his shot I made my camera adjustments and composed my photo. My index finger found home. Snap! What a beautiful picture. I smiled to myself and thought “This is my favorite type of photography. The world rushes to the beat of time and often misses the little details of life. However, for me, getting lost in time with my camera. . . seeing beyond the surface of life. . . and exposing a story with a photograph is true bliss. This is the future of Fourth Dimension Photography.”